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How We Tested Hiking Pants for Women

Friday May 5, 2023
hiking pants women - hiking pant testing in red rock canyon. we wore these pants in a...
Hiking Pant testing in Red Rock Canyon. We wore these pants in a variety of terrains and weather conditions.
Credit: Norah Siller

We bought and wore every pair in our review for several months while hiking, climbing, and camping in the desert southwest and through the Sierra and Blue Ridge Mountains. We also had a bunch of friends try them on to see how they fit a variety of women's shapes and wore them in a range of temperatures and weather conditions. Here's how we tested them each scoring metric.

hiking pants women - the ferrosi's handled the abuse of trad gear and sharp rocks during...
The Ferrosi's handled the abuse of trad gear and sharp rocks during the testing period.
Credit: Callie Manning

Comfort and Mobility

We hiked a lot of miles in every pair, with and without a heavy pack, and also scrambled through tight canyons and rock climbed in them. Throughout, we took notes on how comfortable the various pairs felt, and if there were any annoying features or seams. We noted the stretch of the material, and whether the fit and cut allowing natural movement. We also took note of anything that annoyed or impeded us on the trail.

hiking pants women - too hot for pants? just take the legs off!
Too hot for pants? Just take the legs off!
Credit: Julie Coates


Wearing these pants out in the hot desert surroundings of Southern Utah, gave us a great idea of how breathable each pair is. We wore these pants out in similar conditions and noted how well the material vented our perspiration. We also assessed the heaviness of the material and the ability to increase airflow. We also ran through some sun salutations in each pair, for due diligence.

hiking pants women - hiking in hot weather in red rock canyon, nevada. we took each pair...
Hiking in hot weather in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. We took each pair out on warm days and in full sun to note how cool we stayed and switched to shorts (if possible) when the temps heated up.
Credit: Norah Siller

Weather Resistance

We researched the water-repelling features of each of the pants to see if they were made of water-resistant fabric or had a durable water repellant (DWR) coating. We sprayed each model repeatedly with a water bottle and noted how long it took for the water to soak through the material (or not). We also stood in the shower for 5 minutes to get a sense of how they handled a rainstorm. Then we dunked each pair, wrung them out, and set them out to dry on a sunny day, timing how long it took each one to dry.

hiking pants women - testing drying times.
Testing drying times.
Credit: Clark Tate

While out and about, we noted how well the pants blocked the wind. Then we switched them out in quick succession on the same windy day to compare them side-by-side. We also checked to see which include an official UPF rating.

hiking pants women - we tested out all of the various features, including attempting to...
We tested out all of the various features, including attempting to take a pair of convertible pants off without removing our shoes!
Credit: Julie Coates


We made a list of the features found on each pant when we unpacked them. As we used the pants in the field, we noted how useful the various features were in real life and graded them accordingly.

hiking pants women - we weren't just using these pants on flat trails ... we took them...
We weren't just using these pants on flat trails ... we took them out scrambling, traveled over trail-less terrain with lots of sharp plants in the way, climbed routes in them, and anything else we could think of to get a lot of wear on each pair.
Credit: Aloysius Leap


We assessed how versatile each pair is based on their ability to handle hikes ranging from a casual stroll to a 3-month thru-hike. We also wore them around town and to work to see how well each pair blends into daily life.


While it's not an official scoring metric, we always pay attention to how well the gear we test holds up to wear and tear. After testing the pants in the field for several months, we scrutinized each pair for any signs of wear or weak points. We also paid attention to construction details and material thickness and strength. We then compared them to well-used pairs in our closets and also read up on other users' reviews to see any durability issues turned up.

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